Cold Chain Federation (CCF) boss Shane Brennan told the Transport Select Committee that there will be less choice for consumers in supermarkets this Christmas, as suppliers plan to meet demand and no more.

Brennan explained that the industry was “making decisions about what they think is achievable” to deliver to the consumer in time for Christmas.

He said: “We are very good at piling high and selling it cheap at Christmas time. What we’re having to do is strategically scale that back, in order to basically meet the promise that there will be the stuff you expect to see on the shelves, but not necessarily all the extras.”

Brennan went on to say that there was a lot of “tiredness” in the industry and problems with retention as a result of the “toughest period in members’ memories” over the past few years.

“Significant changes”

Brennan said that the CCF were seeing “significant changes” to suppliers’ delivery plans as they re-plan on the basis that delivery time frames have now been extended.

He added that global shipping supplies are in “an unprecedented period of stress.” Brennan went on to explain that global logistic issues were having a knock on effect on delivery times: “The containers that we need to move goods around the world are all in the wrong place. [..] In the fresh supply chain, you’d normally operate on ‘the same day’ or ‘next day’ delivery. We are now looking at ‘day two’ and ‘day three’ [delivery]. For frozen supply chains, we are looking at from ‘day one’ to ‘day three’, to ‘day one’ to ‘day five’ or ‘day six’.”